Colorado EPIC - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Colorado EPIC

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Colorado EPIC: Highlights

The Colorado EPIC combines two of our best Colorado cycling tours! Ride one or two full weeks. The first week rides from Colorado Springs to Durango and the second week rides from Durango to Colorado Springs. Either way you ride it, this audacious adventure weaves its way through Colorado’s majestic and mighty 14’ers.  Experience Colorado at “Bike Speed”.

Riding pass Molas Lake

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Red Mountain Pass Switchbacks

Red Mountain Pass Switchbacks

East and West Spanish Peaks

East and West Spanish Peaks

Colorado Rocky Mountain High!

Colorado Rocky Mountain High!

Greetings from Pikes Peak!

Here’s a short video of one of our guests climbing Pike Peak.

Colorado EPIC: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Colorado EPIC tour have been saying…

Great cycling tour. Awesome views along challenging climbs and really fun descents. Every day was different and delightful, which seems to be the Lizard Head way. Liam and Maggie were great guides. Crested Butte has so much to offer as a layover day. You really know how to create a great cycling tour. – Sonja

I want to thank you for letting me come along! I wasn’t the fastest up hill, going down, well that was a different story. Matt and Leslie took wonderful care of me and the whole group. It was the most fun I have (had) on (a) trip by myself. – Wes

it is about a week we are back home from a fantastic trip to Colorado. We had the best time ever and I am pretty sure I want to come back to North America to ride my bike again. We were lucky to have a great weather day by day, the itinerary was perfectly set up, we enjoyed all kind of landscapes, we had a nice bunch of cyclists and there was always a warm and friendly atmosphere in the group and with the guides. We took home a huge number of beautiful pictures but those most memorable are written deeply into our memories. This trip exceeded my best expectations and my thanks go to all of you organizers. – Tomas

ICE Blog: Here is an inspiring story about Wes Young who has ridden our hardest tours including the Colorado EPIC

Spanish Peaks was quite a humbling adventure. That said it was a fascinating conquest and I am sure that the attentiveness of (Lizard Head) was key to our overall successful travel over the RIDICULOUSLY LONG AND HIGH mountains of Colorado! I look forward to the next, adventure. – Eric

Just wound up another Lizard Head tour with Matt and Leslie, our sixth! It was fabulous, aided by good weather and two of the best guides in your operation. Keep up the good work and best personal regards from Bruce and Ilse.

Colorado EPIC: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

Note: Ride all 2 weeks, the 1st week only or the 2nd week only.

2024 Tour Dates:

  • July 28 to August 3, 2024 Week 1 Only
    Week 1 – July 28 to August 3, 2024: Colorado Springs to Durango (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Why Should you Sign-Up Now and OPEN a Tour Date?
This is the proverbial chicken and the egg conundrum! We need our cyclists to first commit to the date that works for them so that we can commit to that date.

For starters, when you OPEN a date you get to pick your preferred departure date, and there is no penalty if the tour does not run. Once you pick your tour date, Lizard Head closes nearby dates and funnels all additional riders to your chosen date until the tour meets its 6 rider minimum.

BONUS: As an added bonus, we can also hold a spot for you on another tour date of your choosing. There is no fee to switch to another tour date.

In conclusion, if you want a tour to run, we need you to sign up and not wait for others to do the same! Waiting for others may mean that a tour date takes longer or does not confirm. Just Do It! Once a few riders jump into the proverbial waters, others will follow!

Colorado EPIC: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Arrival/Departure Airport: Colorado Springs, Colorado for Week 1 and Durango, Colorado for Week 2

Meeting/Ending Location for Two-Week Tour: Colorado Springs (COS). Fly into Colorado Springs on a Saturday (the day prior tour start) and out of Colorado Springs on Saturday (tour ends on a Friday).

Don’t Have the Time to Ride Both Weeks? Riders can choose to ride either the 1st or 2nd week.

Logistics for Week 1: Days 1 thru 7 of itinerary below. Fly into Colorado Springs (COS) on Saturday (the day prior to tour start) and out of Durango (DRO) on Sunday.

Logistics for Week 2: Durango to Colorado Springs: Please contact us for Trip Logistics.

Two Week Tour Length: 14-Days Cycling with 2 Layover Days (Ride 2-weeks or just 1-week)

Total Miles: 700 to 1,130 miles, additional mileage options available. (Can I keep up on this tour?)

Daily Mileage Range: 40 to 154 miles

Ability Level: Advanced (3/4)  to Expert (4) 

Two-Week Epic Tour Cost: $6,260 per person. Deposit is $1,500 per person. Single Room Supplement is $945 for a private room each night of the tour. Includes 13-nights of lodging, all meals (except for 3 dinners, 3 breakfasts & 1 lunch), energy food, liquid refreshments, a special cycling gift, 1 bottle, forest service fees, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage are additional.

Week 1 Colorado Springs to Durango Tour Cost: $3,305 per person. Single Room Supplement is $495 for Week 1. Includes 7-nights of lodging (Sunday through Saturday), all meals except for 1 dinner & 1 breakfast, guide service, energy food, liquid refreshments, a special cycling gift, bottles, forest service fees, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage are additional.

Week 2 Durango to Colorado Springs Tour Cost: $3,465 per person. Single Room Supplement is $645 for Week 2. Includes 6-nights of exceptional lodging such as Gateway Canyons Resort (Sunday through Friday), all meals except for 1 dinner & 1 breakfast, guide service, energy food, liquid refreshments, a special cycling gift, bottles, forest service fees, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage are additional.

Tour Discounts: Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page to learn more about Reptile Rewards, Tour Discounts, and Group Discounts. Tour discounts are not stackable with any other discounts or promotions – only the highest valued discount is provided. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

Road Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott Bikes. The Scott Addict 10 Disc was designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind. With geometry that is less focused on racing and more on enduring, the Addict 10 will be your go to when you’re looking to put the miles in.

The Scott Addict 10 Disc features: Carbon Frame and Fork, Shimano Ultegra 2x11 Drivetrain, 34x32 Compact Gearing, 30mm Tires, and Hydraulic Disc Brakes. Approx. Weight: 16.89 lbs / 7.66 kg (without pedals)

Learn more about our Rental Bikes and Equipment

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing. Please note that E-Bikes are not available for certain tours including those that involve camping. Please contact us for more information before registering for a tour. NOTE: E-Bikes are great, but our tours are designed to be ridden without motorized assistance. We offer "bumps" along the road so that everyone can stay together.

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on our tours.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at or call us at 970.728.5891

Lodging Week 1: Colorado Springs to Durango (subject to change)

  • Night 1: Florence Rose Bed & Breakfast, Florence, Colorado (elevation 5,180′)
  • Night 2: Tarabino Inn, Trinidad, Colorado (elevation 6,010′)
  • Night 3: 1899 Bed & Breakfast Inn, La Veta, Colorado (elevation 7,037′)
  • Night 4: Great Sand Dunes Lodge, Mosca, Colorado (elevation 7,559′)
  • Night 5: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Gunnison, Colorado (elevation 7,700′)
  • Night 6: The Fireman’s Inn, Creede, Colorado (elevation 8,799′)
  • Nights 7: Strater Hotel, Durango, Colorado (elevation 6,512′)

Lodging Week 2: Durango to Colorado Springs (subject to change)

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

NOTE: During the tour Lizard Head Cycling offers a few short shuttles to avoid undesirable car clustered sections. Riders are welcomed to ride these sections if they want to E.F.I. the tour.

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Colorado EPIC: Itinerary*

*PLEASE NOTE: Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Colorado EPIC: Colorado Springs to Durango

Week 1 – Day 0: Arrival in Colorado Springs

Guests either drive to or fly into Colorado Springs, Colorado on the Saturday prior to the tour departure. Colorado Springs is a bike crazy town and home to USA Cycling, the national governing body for bicycle racing in the United States.

For early arriving guests, a recommended great first day ride to help acclimate you to the higher elevations would be from downtown Colorado Springs to the majestic rock formations at the Garden of the Gods and then back. Or if you are feeling up to the challenge, take on the mighty Pike’s Peak offering a near relentless climb up to 14,000 feet and rewarding you with 100+ mile views.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado

Week 1 – Day 1: Florissant to Cañon City
50-miles with approximately 2,850 feet of climbing

We begin our tour from deep within the front range with inspiring views on well paved roads along rolling terrain as we plummet nearly 5,500′ during the course of a 50-mile trek from Florissant to Canon City. Beware! There are some punchy climbs on the way down to Canon City. A treat near the end of the day will be a short section of narrow road called Skyline Drive that follows a ridge top traverse. The day ends in Cañon City’s municipal park.

Elevation Profile: +2850 ft / -5690 ft

Week 1 – Day 2: Florence to Colorado City
60-miles with approximately 6,215 feet of climbing

Starting from Florence today’s route begins with gentle climbing into the Wet Mountains that soon turns to steep climbing between the 11 to 22 mile mark. After the turn south onto the Greenhorn Highway, we enjoy a tremendous piece of road. The views of the Wet Mountains and Sangre De Christos during the day are spectacular and to the east, it appears one can see all the way to Kansas! After a stop at the uniquely strange Bishop Castle, there are a series of rollers and then a screaming 13-mile descent down through the Huckleberry Hills to Colorado City to end the ride at Obie’s Fillin’ Station for BBQ. We shuttle to Trinidad, Colorado for our accommodations at the Tarabino Inn.

Elevation Profile: +6215 ft / -5605 ft

Week 1 – Day 3: Trinidad to La Veta
66-miles with approximately 5,665 feet of climbing

Today ride The Highway of the Legends Scenic Byway around the Spanish Peaks. The route climbs up and over 9,995-foot Cuchara Pass and then quickly descends to the town of La Veta (7,013-feet) for tonight’s lodging. This is a big climb to Cuchara Pass with a real steep kick at the end. As a result there are big king of the mountain points to be gained on Cuchara Pass! From atop the pass it is a fast descent to end the day.

Elevation Profile: +5665 ft / -4710 ft

Week 1 – Day 4: La Veta to Great Sand Dunes National Park
61-miles with approximately 3,270 feet of climbing

From La Veta, Colorado we’ll ride up to North La Veta Pass (9,413-feet) and after the descent through the towns of Fort Garland and Blanca while traversing around southern base of 14,000-foot Blanca Peak. The riding from the 4-mile mark to the 13-mile mark climbs North La Veta Pass. At the top the pavement improves and the shoulder widens for the rest of the ride to the Great Sand Dunes National Park!

Elevation Profile: +3270 ft / -2195 ft

Week 1 – Day 5: Moffat to Gunnison
Standard, 87 miles with approximately 3,500 feet of climbing
E.F.I., 129 miles with approximately 3,430 feet of climbing

Today we’ll ride across the 7,000-foot San Luis valley past endless fields of potatoes. From the town of Saguache the route follows Hwy 114 for 62-miles toward Gunnison. Highway 114 is a beautiful road that crosses the continental divide at North Pass and then descends nearly 40-miles into Gunnison. An optional E.F.I. ride from Great Sand Dunes National Park to Gunnison at 129 miles in length is also offered.

Standard, 87 miles – Elevation Profile: +3500 ft / -3370 ft

E.F.I., 129 miles – Elevation Profile: +3430 ft / -3820 ft

Week 1 – Day 6: Gunnison to Creede – The Cannibal Classic!
E.F.I.: 106 Man-Eating-Miles with approximately 8,400 feet of climbing
60 or 75-Mile ride Options

The “Cannibal Classic” is one of the most challenging stages of the tour having earned its name from the infamous Alfred Packer, a miner who became snowbound on an ill-fated journey into the San Juan Mountains in the late 1800’s. Come spring, Packer was the only remaining miner alive from his party of six, looking pretty healthy. He had literally eaten his compatriots!

At approximately mile 58, you will take on one of the steepest paved mountain passes in Colorado – Slumgullion Pass at an elevation of 11,530 feet! This monster is a 6 mile climb that ascends nearly 3,000 feet; its average 7% to 9% grades feels particularly brutal coming at mile 90 of the Cannibal Classic.

At the top, you’ll descend 4 miles and then climb another 4 miles at a mere 4% grade to Spring Creek Pass and the Continental Divide. From Spring Creek, it’s just about a 30-mile descent to the wild west town of Creede.

Elevation Profile: 105.6 mi +8428 ft / -7288 ft

Elevation Profile: +8400 ft / -7300 ft

Week 1 – Day 7: Creede to Pagosa Springs, or Durango
Standard, 64-miles with approximately 3,400 feet of climbing
E.F.I., 131-miles with approximately 6,985 feet of climbing

Riding south from Creede, you’ll pedal across the remote headwaters of Rio Grande watershed. The largest wilderness area in Colorado, the Weimuniche Wilderness, borders this lush region. After climbing the impressive Wolf Creek Pass (10,863’) near the end of the day, you’ll have climbed over the Continental Divide for the second time in two days.

Thrill to a 4,000-foot descent from Wolf Creek to Pagosa Springs along the headwaters of the San Juan River. We’ll be in close proximity to New Mexico and get a whiff of the state’s famous and fragrant green chile. After arriving in Pagosa Springs, you will enjoy a much-needed and deserved soak in the hot springs followed by a fine dinner of New Mexican home cooking and finally, an evening shuttle from Pagosa Springs to Durango, Colorado to check into our accommodations for the next two evenings.

A 131 mile E.F.I. option from Creede to Durango is also offered on this day.

Elevation Profile: 64.3 mi +3399 ft / -5169 ft

Standard, 64 miles – Elevation Profile: +3400 ft / -5200 ft

E.F.I., 131 miles – Elevation Profile: +7385 ft / -9650 ft

Colorado EPIC: Durango to Colorado Springs

Layover Day in Durango for 2-Week Colorado Epic Riders
Week 2 – Day 0: Arrival in Durango

Optional Riding

For Week 2: Colorado Cols – Durango to Colorado Springs this is Day 0 arrival day in Durango.

With a layover in Durango, you will have an entire day to relax and recuperate before the second leg of our two week journey.

In Durango explore the historic downtown district, go shopping along the main street, check out the local art galleries, take a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, go for a short spin around town on the myriad bike paths to keep the legs loose, take a brisk hike on one the nearby hiking trails, wander over to the Mountain Bike Specialists bike shop and perhaps bump into mountain biking legend Ned Overend… or just kick back and do nothing but enjoy this bustling mountain village.

Today you’ll be on your own for meals to enjoy Durango’s many fine restaurants and saloons. For a local old time diner breakfast experience go to the Durango Diner. (Hint: Kitchen Sink Omelet with Green Chili Sauce)

Week 2 – Day 1: Durango to Ouray
40 or 69-miles (EFI)  This is the first day of Week 2: Colorado Cols – Durango to Colorado Springs

On this day we pedal out of Durango along the Rio Animas before climbing high into the San Juan Mountains past mysterious peaks. The San Juans are the highest range in the state with more land mass above 10,000 feet than anywhere south of Alaska.

The route following the San Juan Skyway north presents three major cols; Coal Bank Pass (10,640’), Molas Pass (10,915’), and finally Red Mountain Pass (11,018’). The entire road surface was re-surfaced between the summers of 2009 and 2011 and as a result is in fantastic shape. After surviving the San Juan Skyway, the tour finishes in Ouray where cyclists can soak and relax after a hard days effort.

Elevation Profile: 71.2 mi +7705 ft / -6592 ft

Elevation Profile: +6900 ft / -6600 ft

Week 2 – Day 2: Ouray to Gateway
70-miles or 119-miles EFI (Every Freaking Inch) with over 7,000 feet of descending!

Our Mountains to Desert (M2M) stage descends over 7,000-feet from Ouray to Gateway! This is an inspiring ride over Dallas Divide, along the San Miguel River and for the grand finale, through the intimate confines of the Dolores River Canyon. The Dolores river canyon has been called by previous Lizard Head Cycling guests as the “most beautiful ride ever”. Come see for yourself! We call it is the most spectacular and least known road rides in Colorado.

This stage has big time descending and you can do it!

The stage ending at the Gateway Canyons Resort has to be seen to be believed. There are few places in the world that can provide an experience and location such Gateway Canyons Resort. John Hendricks of the Discovery Channel built the resort in 2005. His love of Redrock Canyon country has created a destination that guests of Lizard Head Cycling Guides adore.

Elevation Profile: 120.2 mi +4619 ft / -7810 ft

Elevation Profile: +4600 ft / -7800 ft

Week 2 – Day 3: Gateway to Paonia
43-miles with approximately 2,900 feet of climbing

After a relaxing morning spent in the beauty of Gateway Canyons Resort we will ride through the improbable beauty of Unaweep Canyon to Whitewater, Colorado. From Whitewater we shuttle up the beautiful North Fork Valley tour lodging at the Bross Hotel in Paonia, Colorado.

For those looking for more, an optional 14-mile afternoon pedal is available.

Morning – Gateway to Whitewater, Elevation Profile: +2900 ft / -2800 ft

Afternoon – Rogers Mesa to Paonia, Elevation Profile: +550 ft / -550 ft

Week 2 – Day 4: Paonia to Crested Butte via Kebler Pass
46 Miles with 4,010 feet of climbing

This is a spectacular journey into the West Elk Mountains and over Kebler Pass Col. The route climbs through spruce, fur and aspen forests. Along the way we ride below the immense and marvelous Marcellina Mountain. Twenty of today’s miles are on smooth gravel (magnesium chloride) on a lightly and remote backroad. The route feels akin to pedaling through the Swiss countryside. This was a stage of the now defunct US Pro Cycling Challenge in 2014.

From the top of Kebler Pass it’s then a quick seven miles into Crested Butte and to our lodging at the Elk Mountain Lodge.

Elevation Profile:

Week 2 – Day 5: Layover Day in Crested Butte
Swimming, Hiking, Wildflowers, Music and more!

Crested Butte is the wildflower capital of Colorado.

On this layover day there are options for two road rides, a singletrack mountain bike ride, or if you simply want to relax and enjoy Crested Butte, that’s fine too as their is nearby wild swimming and CB’s a cool town to explore!

The optional rides include a road bike ride along the Crested Butte Loop over Ohio Pass, a shorter out and back road ride to Gothic, Colorado, or if you want to take a day off from the road, then a singletrack mountain bike ride high above Crested Butte which includes Slate Creek, Paradise Divide, Baldy Mtn, and Gothic Valley.

  • Longer Road Ride – Crested Butte Loop via Ohio Pass: 53 miles with up to 2,700 feet of climbing
  • Shorter Road Ride – Crested Butte to Gothic and Back: 17 miles with up to 1,250 feet of climbing
  • Mountain Bike Ride – Slate Creek, Paradise Divide, Baldy Mtn, & Gothic Valley

Week 2 – Day 6: Crested Butte to Buena Vista via Cottonwood Pass
35 miles of 69-miles (EFI) with up to 4,465 feet of climbing

After breakfast the riding begins from Crested Butte along the Slate River through the cool morning mountain air. After taking a turn east at the halfway point for the day, we meander around the southern and eastern shores of Taylor Park Reservoir before tackling Cottonwood Pass at 12,126 feet, a beyond category (HC) 13-mile ascent to above Colorado’s tree-line! Cottonwood Pass was newly paved in the summer of 2020.

From the top of Cottonwood Pass it is a big 20-mile descent to Buena Vista, Colorado losing nearly 4,300 feet in elevation with nearly zero gain – what a ride! The day ends in the town of Buena Vista for post-ride relaxation and a well deserved dinner.

EFI: Elevation Profile: 70 mi +4465 ft / -5890 ft

Week 2 – Day 7: “Pike’s Peak or Bust!”
38-miles with approximately 8,900′ of climbing

Today is the final day of our 2-week Colorado EPIC tour!

“Pike’s Peak or Bust” was a common refrain from gold seekers heading west in the 1800’s. This may be your refrain as you attempt to climb 7,000-feet in 162 turns over 18-miles to 14,110-feet. There are 10-miles of this climb with a 10% grade that are above 10,000-feet in elevation. But these are only numbers. 🙂  Pike’s Peak is consider perhaps the most arduous climb in North America.

This is a big climb; there will be suffering, doubt & elation. Cyclists will have all day to reach the top or not. NOTE: The Lizard Head Cycling vehicle is available for a bump to shorten this day. Cyclists do not have to ride the entire climb, but the views from the top are worth the effort!

Lizard Head owner John Humphries has this to say about Pikes Peak:

Pike’s Peak is the hardest road bike climb I have personally ever done, it is best described as unrelenting. The last time I made it to the top I felt as if I had been in a race and was struggling just to cross the finish line. All-in-all there is about 10-miles at 10% above 10,000-feet. Although the grade relaxes above 13,000-feet, there is so little oxygen that it does not feel easier. Pike’s Peak is a true accomplishment. It humbles good riders. With all that said these are only numbers… let us know how it feels cowboys and cowgirls!

Elevation Profile: +8212 ft / -8210 ft

Elevation Profile: +8210 ft / -8210 ft

Colorado EPIC: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Any dietary preferences or allergies should be noted on the registration form. Each of Lizard Head Cycling’s lunches contains gluten free options.

Ride Difficulty
This custom tour is designed for 3/4 (Advanced to Challenging) cyclists with various levels of fitness. Each day there are additional mileage options for advanced riders.

Tour Support
A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment will support this tour.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link:

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link:

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